“This allows the entire array of banks to be cleaned in a short time, which is essential after a sandstorm” says Eitelhuber.
In February, the device won $200,000 from Kaust’s Seed Fund, which offers finance and support to students, faculty and staff who want to turn their discoveries into commercial ventures. With the money, Eitelhuber is now testing a full-scale Nomadd designed for larger solar arrays- like the kind planned for Saudi Arabia.
Nomadd’s timing couldn’t be better, says Ibrahim Faza, the project coordinator of Kaust’s Seed Fund. “They are providing a solution at the right time,” he says. “Nomadd is very early in the market, because the market is now being planned.”
It is a claim supported by Christopher Burghardt of First Solar, one of the world’s leading solar solution providers. He says Saudi Arabia’s bold solar vision is likely to set off a wave of solar development in the region.
“The Middle East will be one of the major global markets for [photovoltaic] solar in the coming decades,” he says. “In particular, Saudi Arabia.”
Within the next year, large-scale solar arrays are expected to begin sprouting up in the desert, and Eitelhuber hopes Nomadd will be ready to help kick-start the efforts.
“We think we have the best solution by a long shot to cleaning solar panels in the desert,” Eitelhubert claims.
And Saudi Arabia is the just beginning, he says. If it can work there, it can work anywhere.
“It’s desert-proof,” says Eitelhuber. “Anywhere that has tough conditions that need tough solutions, we’re looking there.”